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How to Get Diesel Smell Out of Clothes?

Updated on January 28, 2024



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There’s no denying that a day spent at a truck rally or RVing with your friends can be fun. But it can also leave you tired and ‘dirty’. And once you reach home, you’ll smell the distinctive odor of some good ol’ diesel coming from your clothes. Diesel smell can be barely noticeable out in the open but can be a menace to deal with when you’re back home.

how to get diesel smell out of clothes

If you think tossing your clothes in the laundry will fix the problem, you’re mistaken. The easiest way to get the smell of diesel out of your clothes is through an external deodorizer; washing alone itself won’t work. 

Stay with us as we run you through your options and other information.

Why Wouldn’t the Laundry Get Rid of the Smell?

As expected, homeowners today want an easy fix. Throwing your clothes in the laundry works with other smells and stains, so why does it not work with diesel? 

Well, for starters, commercial detergents and washers cannot help remove the smell and stains from oil-based products. A commercial degreasing solution or a deodorizer is needed to remove the smell and the stain.

Diesel has a significant odor associated with it because it contains a high quantity of nitrogen and sulfur. Sulfur is known to have a particularly bad smell similar to a rotten egg cracked open or hot spring. Regular gasoline may not leave the stinking smell behind, but diesel is guilty of leaving behind odors that can stick with your clothes for long, if not cleaned in time.

How to Get the Smell of Diesel out of Your Clothes?

Just when you think you’re lost for options, here we are with our list of options you can follow to get the smell of diesel out of your clothes.

Applying one of the solutions mentioned below will help get the smell away from your clothes and provide your breathing organs some relief.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda is the go-to solution for many people when it comes to removing stains and reducing smells. Baking soda and vinegar are both equally important for this solution and come with stain removal and deodorizing solutions that can help provide a cheap fix to the smell of diesel on your clothes.

While it is best for you to use natural methods that don’t depend on strong chemicals, the baking soda and vinegar solution will only work on faint smells of diesel and nothing strong. The strong smell of diesel will take some time to go away.

If your clothes have a strong smell of diesel to them, you will be better served by some of the other tips we mention later in this article.

The steps to follow here include:

  • Start by putting your smelly clothes into the wash. Make sure that the clothes are put in by themselves, without any other clothes that may catch the pungent smell.
  • Next up, you should measure and add the regular laundry detergent to the mixture.
  • Once you have added the detergent, you should add 14 oz of baking soda and a half cup of vinegar onto your clothes.
  • Once everything is added, you can run the full wash cycle once or twice.
  • Take your wet clothes outside and dry them for a while.
  • Once they are dry, you can check them outside to see if the pungent smell of diesel has gone away or is still around.

Both vinegar and baking soda are natural fixes that won’t damage your machine in any way. These additives won’t mess up your clothes as well and will make sure that the clothes look bright and clean.

Coke with Baking Soda

If baking soda and vinegar don’t work well enough, it’s time to twist the mixture a bit and some coke. Coca-cola with baking soda can spell wonders and reduce the smell of your clothes. You can guzzle down a few sips of the soda as well, while you are at it.

The steps to follow here include:

  • Start by filling up the tub inside your washing machine with water and then adding your clothes to it. Make sure that only the clothes that smell bad are added to the machine.
  • Drain the water that you have currently inside the machine and prepare another soak.
  • Now that you have a full soak available, you should add a 14 oz box of baking soda and a 2-liter bottle of coke to the mix.
  • Allow your garments to soak in the solution for at least a period of 24 hours. Keeping the garments soaked in the solution overnight will work as well.
  • Once the desired period has passed, take the clothes out of the solution and wash them as usual.

The coke and baking soda method has worked for many and might work for you as well. If it doesn’t, we have some other techniques lined up as well for you.

Rubbing Alcohol with Baking Soda

Rubbing alcohol together with baking soda can also come in handy as a natural deodorizer and stain lifter. Rubbing alcohol is known to be a popular degreaser that can work well to also remove the few stains of diesel present on your clothes.

Baking soda remains a constant with all of our solutions because it can help improve the overall smell and feel of the clothes. 

The process to follow for this step is:

  • Identify any possible stain from exposure to diesel on your clothes. Once you identify a stain, sprinkle some baking soda over the stained area.
  • Pour alcohol over the stained region until you have completely soaked the stain with it.
  • Let the clothes sit like this for a while, before you wash them as usual after a couple of hours.
  • If you don’t see any stains on your clothes, and want to get rid of the smell of diesel from your clothes, then you can prepare a soak using a tub of water, a 14 oz box of baking soda and some rubbing alcohol.
  • Add your clothes to the solution you have prepared above and let your clothes soak in it for a couple of hours before you wash them as usual.

The mixture of baking powder and alcohol can work wonders to rid you of the smell of alcohol from your clothes.


Moving on, we believe ammonia can be naturally used as an agent to reduce the smell of diesel from your clothes. 

You might find it hard to believe that ammonia, which has a strong smell itself, can be used to clear away the strong smell of diesel. 

However, ammonia can do a decent job here and take away the smell in no time. Ammonia does a fantastic job at clearing away smelly odors from all types of clothing and garments.

Here’s how you can use ammonia to get the diesel smell out of your clothes:

1.       Add your garments that smell like diesel fuel into the wash.

2.       Add the detergent, as you would normally do.

3.       Once the washer is full, you can add half a cup of ammonia into the water as well.

4.       Let the wash cycle take its time and complete.

5.       Air dry all of your clothes that smell of diesel, rather than putting them inside the dryer.

Based on your sensitivity to smells, you won’t need to dip your clothes in for a second wash. One single wash will clear away the slimy smell of diesel and give your clothes a fresh new industrial look. 

However, if you can still smell diesel, give it a second wash and get a fresh smell.

Eucalyptus Oil

What if your diesel-smelling clothes could smell like eucalyptus oil? Ever heard of it? 

Eucalyptus oil is prepared by distilling or cold pressing essential oils to maintain purity and a fresh smell. Eucalyptus oil has a pleasant scent to it, and is even popularly used to add a fresh smell to clothes.

The lingering smell of diesel can be tackled by adding just a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the mixture. The few drops of eucalyptus oil you add to the mixture will work like magic and help your clothes smell fresh and new again. 

  • Start by filling up the washer, as you would do, normally. 
  • Now, once the washer is full, you can add multiple drops of eucalyptus oil to the mix and allow one full cycle to finish. 
  • Once the cycle is over, you will see, or rather smell, the results for yourself.


Listerine is a popular cleaning agent and is mostly used to clear the smell off edibles from your mouth. Listerine is made up of ethanol, and other essential oils including eucalyptus oil. The concoction works like magic to help clear bad breath from your mouth and gives you a fresh look.

People who have used Listerine previously, wouldn’t be too surprised to know that it can do the same with your clothes as well. You can start the cleaning process by washing your clothes as you normally do with a detergent. 

Once the wash has started, you can pour a cup of Listerine into the mix. The liquid will mix well with the solvent to give your clothes a fresh new smell. Half a cup of baking soda can work like wonder as well if used together with Listerine.

Listerine can also be used to reduce the smell of smoke or other gasses, after an RV grilling or BBQ session.


We are into the heavyweights here. If your clothes still smell of diesel and the tips above haven’t worked, then it is time that you went towards the efficient option of Pinesol. 

Pinesol can clean almost everything inside your home; from toilet bowls to bathroom floors, Pinesol comes with a strong concoction that works like a charm.

Pinesol can help clear the smell of diesel from your clothes and also help wash away the grease within your washing machine.

Start your washing process like you would usually do, and add half a cup of Pinesol to the mixture. Pinesol will work like a charm through the wash cycle to clear away any presence/smell of diesel. 

Once you are done, you should smell your clothes to see if they smell too commercial cleaner-esque. If they do, then you can continue a second wash cycle to bring things back to normal.

Pinesol is so good, that you need another cycle with a normal detergent, to make sure your clothes don’t smell too cleaner-like. The smell of diesel will surely be gone.

How to Get Rid of Diesel Fuel Stains?

Diesel Fuel stains can be just as big a problem as the smell of diesel. However, all of the seven methods that we have discussed above, will do an equally good job at removing stains from diesel. Baking soda, vinegar, Listerine and Pinesol are good cleaning agents.

And That’s a Wrap!

You should ideally look to get the smell of diesel away from your clothes as soon as possible. Don’t let the smelly clothes lie around for 3 weeks before you throw them in a washer and expect our tips to work. Do it early and do it quickly to make sure your favorite clothes don’t smell bad.

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<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!

<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!

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